Currencies in emerging markets around the globe have suffered this year, and in particular, Turkey’s financial crisis has led to a 35% decline in the value of the Turkish lira this year. Other currencies are experiencing declines as well: the Indian rupee, Argentine peso, Indonesian rupiah, and South African rand, to name just a few, all have performed poorly this year.

That makes it more difficult for students from those countries to pay for college in the U.S. since the cost of that education rises for them as their currencies depreciate in value. Students who thought they had covered the funding of their education may suddenly find they are still short, due to these currency fluctuations.

Huh?

For example, to pay a $40K tuition bill in the U.S. last fall would have required 138K lira. But the same amount of lira would only cover $21K of tuition this fall.* So anyone who saved diligently in lira to cover several years of studies in the US would have found themselves short of funds.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. The obvious answer is to save more money – but that’s not always feasible, given that currency fluctuations are impossible to forecast.
  2. The second-best answer is to save money in the currency of the country where you will study. Many banks offer multi-currency accounts that would allow a Turkish student’s family to save U.S. dollars in anticipation of a U.S. college education. By exchanging lira for dollars on a regular basis, the impact of currency fluctuations can be smoothed out over time.
  3. Getting a U.S. loan can be used to cover shortfalls incurred due to exchange rate fluctuations.
  4. Once you get to the U.S., you can also explore on-campus jobs or local internships to earn extra money in U.S. dollars.
  5. Finally, it’s also a good idea to stay up-to-date and informed about events in international markets in case they affect financial, travel, or academic decisions. Useful resources can be found at Businessinsider, Bloomberg, and MarketWatch.

*based on exchange rates on September 6, 2017 and September 6, 2018

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